And finally, after all of that, we crown a new NBA champion. Congratulations are in order for Laker fans everywhere, even if basically all of the NBA and sporting world hates you. And now with that out of the way, only 10 days until the draft…
HoopsWorld looks at the studs and duds from the last four NBA drafts: “Without a doubt Durant has made a bigger impact on the NBA than Greg Oden, but he’s also a better player than 90% of the league after just two seasons. With a team built to run and Durant as the focal point, the Thunder will be a team to be reckoned with in the not-too-distant future – and Durant only continues to improve. Durant raised his scoring by five points as a sophomore, his shooting percentage 40 points, and added two more rebounds a game. What’s he got up his sleeve for Year 3? The All-Star Game should be on his resume very soon.”
The Baseline reports that the Charlotte Observer reports that Steph Curry could go as high as No. 3 in the draft. Hey, who’s picking third again?: “Davidson guard Stephen Curry could be as high as the third pick in this month’s NBA draft and is unlikely to fall below the seventh pick, the Charlotte Observer is reporting. The only players clearly ahead of Curry at this point are Oklahoma’s Blake Griffin and Connecticut’s Hasheem Thabeet, a source tells the newspaper. Many have speculated that Curry could go to the Knicks, but the Knicks have the No. 8 pick in the draft. The source also said that four point guards — Curry, Spain’s Ricky Rubio, Syracuse’s Jonny Flynn and Memphis’ Tyreke Evans — could all go in the top eight.”
Something I was thinking about - The Lakers claim 15 titles. Five of those titles came while they were the Minneapolis Lakers. So if that counts, then I’m ready and fully willing to take that 1979 NBA title and count it. I didn’t feel right about it before, but seeing as one of the greatest sports franchises ever is doing it, I guess it is alright.
OKC still has assistant coach spots to fill: “Still down one assistant coach because of Paul Westhead’s departure following the firing of P.J. Carlesimo and subsequent promotion of Scott Brooks and hiring of Ron Adams, the Thunder could have one more assistant’s position to fill. The team is expected to move on without one of its four remaining assistants and has already begun interviewing candidates. The new additions could be announced in the near future. According to one league source, the positions could be filled before the June 25 draft, and at least one of the hires is likely to be an offensive-minded coach.”
Today is deadline day for draft prospects. Jrue Holliday is defintely in and Gani Lawal has pulled out. Patty Mills is leaning towards staying in and is set to work out for the Thunder today. Jeff Teague is reportedly in as well as Omri Casspi. The main question marks to watch for today are Greivis Vasquez, Luke Harangody, Patty Mills, Taj Gibson, Austin Daye and Jodie Meeks.
Darnell Mayberry looks at the BIG decision for OKC: “And so the time has come for Oklahoma City to decide how important a true center is for this roster going forward. The draft is 10 days away. Connecticut’s 7-foot-3 center, Hasheem Thabeet, still could be available when the Thunder picks No. 3. It could be a franchise-changing conclusion. On one hand, interior defense is clearly the Thunder’s most pressing need. Coach Scott Brooks and Co. preach defense daily but don’t have anything close to the anchor in the middle that is the linchpin on many of the league’s best defensive teams … But on the flip side, with its roster under construction, the Thunder isn’t in a position to draft for need. Many observers around the league think the Thunder should select the best player available, regardless of position and in spite of Oklahoma City’s gaping hole in the middle.”
HoopsWorld on Brandon Jennings’ Rubio comments: “He may have gained experience but his play does not justify the lottery spot he’s been given,” one NBA scout who saw Jennings play for Rome told HOOPSWORLD. “I’m looking at a player that was very lukewarm to say the least. I saw him a lot but didn’t get to see him play much and not particularly well for that matter. Some scouts have a higher opinion on Jennings. But myself and other colleagues who are living in Europe who have seen him in the same context were like, ‘That’s it? A lottery pick? Oh, okay’.”
A potential technological breakthrough for the NBA: “As the Los Angeles Lakers and the Orlando Magic tested one another’s resolve in the finals, the N.B.A. was testing a new tracking system, one that could perhaps alter how the game is watched, measured and coached. Perched high above and adjacent to the court, six high-definition cameras in a semi-circle have captured and traced the movements of each player, the referees and the basketball in Games 3 and 4 of the N.B.A. finals at Amway Arena. The cameras streamlined information into two data processing computers tucked behind the rafters that are aimed at rapidly defining an N.B.A. game in a way that has not been seen before.”
DeMar DeRozan says he could take Blake Griffin in a dunk contest, but also says he’s a lockdown defender: “One year of college really made me focus on defense. I understand that now. I think of myself as one of the lockdown players at my position on defense. That is one of the key things I think I could bring to a lot of teams. And how much I have grown mentally, as a man in the one year at SC. That helped me. I learned, too, how to figure out ways to do things on the court that I did not know before. It took a lot, and I thought when I was done, I was ready to try the next level.”
Q&A with Ty Lawson: “Q: Are you 100 percent healthy these days? A: I’m up to speed. I’m running my fastest and jumping my highest. I’m playing my best basketball right now. I just want to showcase that to every team I go to. Q: One other thing people do say about you is that you are a winner. A: That’s what I love to do. At Carolina, we won 80 percent of our games while I was there. That’s the attitude I’m bringing to the NBA.”